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Comic Chronicles: Learning About Yesterday

This first one is for Kip.

© Magazine Management(?)

Charles Rodrigues, who was born in 1926 and died in 2004, was one of the most widely-published and beloved cartoonists of the latter half of the 20th Century.

His cartoons appeared in scores of men’s magazines, from the low end, low circulation girlie mags and dozens of different MAMs to high end slicks like ESQUIRE and PLAYBOY.

Rodrigues cartoons were also regularly published in mainstream magazines, like TV GUIDE, the STEREO REVIEW, and alternative magazines like Paul Krassner’s THE REALIST.

He also did three comic features for the Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate: “Eggs Benedict,” “Casey the Cop” and “Charlie.”

But Rodrigues is probably best known for the work he did for NATIONAL LAMPOON magazine.

Men’s Pulp Mags/Men’s Adventure Magazines takes a look at some of Rodrigues’ contributions to those low end he-man magazines of the 1950s.


From the early cartoons of Charlie to the early life of Reggie.

© M.G.N. Ltd.

The comic strip’s creator was Reg Smythe, who is generally and rightfully most associated with Hartlepool. But he lived on Wearside for much of his childhood with his parents Richard Smyth (Reg later added the ‘e’ as he thought it would add to his appeal in the south of England) and Florrie Pearce, after whom Andy’s long-suffering wife was named.

It was in winter 1919 when Richard found work in the Isaac Spain Ltd Shipyard, on the north bank of the River Wear at Manor Quay. He moved to Sunderland with Florrie and their children.

Sunderland grabs their share of Reg Smythe and Andy Capp.


Yeah, it’s an art.

© Tribune Content Agency

The great cartoonist Leonard Starr wrote and drew, on average, 27 complex panels every week for decades.

Starr usually employed an assistant to finish the backgrounds he laid out, and a letterer for the word balloons. But the literate plots, the sparkling dialogue, the drawing and inking of the figures were completely Starr’s creation.

David Apatoff describes and shows how Len Starr did it.


Tony DePaul corrects a published error.

As scripted:

As published:

© King Features Syndicate

Tony says:

“The problem is that the meaning is skewed by how Paul composed the panel. With two balloons instead of one, the meaning of the scripted line changes. The Phantom code becomes one of no violence.”

“A can of worms here in changing just one word and breaking the line into two parts…”

So Tony inserted a correction in another story. The Chronicle Chamber explains.

Community Comments

#1 Allan Holtz
@ 2:44 pm

“Eggs Benedict”??? That set my BS meter spiking. Can anyone vouch for its existence?

#2 D. D. Degg
@ 4:31 pm

Allan, I don’t find any proof that it was ever published,
but the claim there did not come out of thin air.

The Ohio State University’s collection of Charles Rodrigues papers, in their Biographical Note, states he “created three comic features for the Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate: Eggs Benedict, Casey the Cop, and the daily panel Charlie.”

Wikipedia sources their claim to Bob Fingerman in the biography he wrote for Fantagraphics collection of Rodrigues’ NatLamp Ray and Joe strips where Fingerman said the same thing, adding the descriptive “short-lived” to Eggs Benedict and Casey the Cop. (GoogleBooks)

So – a proposal never realized?

#3 Kip Williams
@ 6:42 am

Starr’s work on ANNIE was terrific and made me go back and notice how great his artwork always was. I first started seeing him when he had serious competition on the daily comic page, so perhaps I can be excused somewhat.

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